Sunday, February 27, 2011

On motivation and children's dreams

When my 11 year old daughter told me that she wanted to compete for her track and field in her school's activity next month, I was happy for her.

When she told me that when she is in secondary school, that she will try out to be part of the school sports team like volleyball, soccer, and basketball, I was happy for her.

When she told me that she plans to be a vet or an architect or an interior designer, I was happy for her.

Not because she is my daughter.

But because she is an ambitious young lady with big dreams. I admire women who can dream big. And I know that she will accomplish whatever it is that she wants to do because she works hard at it. Right now, she has been running outside with her older brother for training for the competition in next month's track and field. "I want to win Mom. " she told me.   "If I win, I get a medal and ice-cream."

We had a tougher time motivating and encouraging her older brother, at the same age, years ago. He had no motivation and interest to do well in school, despite our pleadings and even threats to transfer him to another school. You can imagine our frustration every time we get his school grades - they were low. Through all his challenges however, my husband and I encouraged him and celebrated his success in other fields where he excelled like drawing, playing the violin and sports. He eventually did well academically because his girlfriend excelled in school and he didn't want to be embarrassed about his school grades. On his last year of high school, he found out that he likes numbers and did well in his accounting classes. He then decided that he was going to university, major in Business and Finance. He had found his career path which now motivated  him to excel in the field.   These days, he is the one encouraging and coaching his younger sister to excel in school.

It is a challenge for parents to create an environment which our children will be motivated to do well in whatever it is that they want to do. Some children will find their "inner" fire earlier than others, while some may take a longer time. But the ingredients are the same:

1. show our unconditional love and support
2. celebrate their success, however small, and in whatever field they excel in
3. tell them that they are valued and important individuals with special skills and talents
4. listen, encourage and support them through their challenges
5. believe in them, and in their dreams.

Even if a child comes from a broken home or unhappy family circumstances, as long as one parent or family member loves him or her unconditionally, the child will grow up to be a responsible and highly motivated individual. Dr. Benjamin Carson comes to mind, as narrated in his book, Gifted Hands.   (please see my blog post on this.)

I believe that when there is love, our children will dream, aspire and work to be the best that they can be.

I hope you all have a nice week.

Beautiful Photo:  credit to Paolo Micheli


  1. Just what I needed to hear. We have tried my daughter with a variety of things, some have worked and some have not. This blog just really encouraged me as parent to just support what she is passionate about.

  2. Thanks Tina for sharing your comment. It's a lesson I am learning and working on now.


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